Oklahoma City police propose ordinance to curb false alarm calls

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OKLAHOMA CITY – When an alarm goes off police are right there to help, but many times it turns out to be a false call.

“We are sending our officers or our fire department out there to respond to these alarms and we could use our man power somewhere else,” Captain Beto Balderrama told News 4.

Oklahoma City police respond to 57,000 alarms each year.

A whopping 98% are false.

That’s why Police Chief Bill Citty is proposing restrictive access to those who do not get a permit for their alarm.

He spoke to city council Tuesday morning.

“We estimate there are 112,000 businesses and homes out there that do not have permits out there but have alarms. That’s significant,” Chief Citty said.

And many times, police say it’s because people don’t know they should have a permit for their security system.

“Nobody told them. The alarm company didn’t tell them. The builder. They would gladly get a permit, especially for $27 a year,” Captain Balderrama said.

Under the proposal, if someone doesn’t have a permit, police won’t respond to the alarm call.

“Let’s say you don’t have a permit and we’re not responding, but your neighbor obviously sees that your house is being burglarized, we will send a unit out. We considered that a verified alarm,” Balderrama said.

Public places like schools, city, state and federal buildings are exempt.

Another key factor at Tuesday’s council meeting was the approval of a false alarm management company to track who has a permit and oversee the database.

It would increase the fines a homeowner or business would have to pay from too many false alarms.

“All of these false alarm companies have all of these programs. All of these systems, they know the industry very well and they’re very good at it and do a lot better job than we do,” Balderrama told News 4.

That will allow people to register their security alarm online and police say it will also allow officers to focus more on their duties.

“In a perfect world, we just want folks to register with us, have their valid permit and never have these administrative fees,” Balderrama said.

There are still two more hearings to discuss the ordinance however the management company was approved Tuesday.

If ordinance is approved they hope to have the ordinance in effect by July 1.

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